1 veterans pleased by DISTURBED Fans'' respect on Mon 18 May 2009, 21:21
"A couple of things that occurred over here [in the past], it really upset them because they felt it was disrespectful for what they see this place as respect," World War II veteran Bob Young said.
But the small group of vets at the memorial say no disrespect was shown at the memorial, and concert-goers showed stand-up behavior — some even stopped to sit down.
"They walk by, they wave, they call to you. Two of them came up and they gave me a bottle of water and then they sat down and talked for a while," Young said.
"One of my best friends, his father stormed the beaches at Normandy," concert-goer Mark Musselman said. "His dad is a great guy. I love him to death. I respect veterans, I respect anybody that's went to war for our country."
DISTURBED frontman David Draiman recently told the Green Bay Press Gazette that the band was "offended" that local veterans were opposed to the band's Music As A Weapon tour playing at Resch Center. Draiman told the paper, "There is no band on the face of this planet that has been more supportive of our troops than DISTURBED — period. For this level of ignorance — and I don't even know what else to call it but ignorance — to be exhibited by the veterans, it's almost like a direct slap in the face to us."
Draiman has told The Pulse of Radio numerous times in the past that even though he was personally against the invasion and occupation of Iraq, DISTURBED is 100 percent behind America's armed forces: "We need to support our troops and love our troops and do everything we can. In fact, any chance that we as DISTURBED have to perform for the troops, give them a little bit of encouragement, strength, build their hope, I would do in a heartbeat."
Veterans were concerned that the tour, which also includes tattooing and extreme sports demonstrations, would mock the memorial, with one local vet calling the area "sacred land."
Draiman said the idea that the tour would mock the memorial was "completely preposterous." DISTURBED staged a meet-and-greet for military personnel during a tour stop in Fayetteville, North Carolina, as well as journeyed to Kuwait to play for U.S. troops in March 2008. The group often lets members of the military into its shows for free and even dedicated the title track of its latest album, Indestructible, to American soldiers.
Draiman added that he thinks the veterans are opposed to the show because his band plays heavy metal, saying, "I guarantee you that if it were Travis Tritt or somebody like that playing next door to the memorial, they'd have no issue with it. But because of the connotations that are given to this genre ... and perhaps there's a generational gap, they don't understand what this music means to so many of the current serving officers in the military."
The local veterans were apparently already disgruntled over construction last summer of a miniature golf course very close to the memorial. The golf course was eventually shut down.